After an initial rejection due to networking CPAN.pm failures (reports on which have been fed back into RT and will hopefully be fixed before 5.8.8), Stephen Steneker's second submission of his Perl CamelPack 5.8.7 passed all 9 points and he claims the reward of a vertical metre of beer.
Stephen (back row centre in this picture) is the co-ordinator of Sydney.pm, but this will be his first ever CPAN upload. He even went the extra step of producing us a 5.6.1 version of the CamelPack for version dependency testing purposes.
In typical Australia fashion and in an excellent use of the "you may steal mercilessly" rule, he simply bundled together ActivePerl 5.8.7, the Bloodshed Dev-C editor (which installs at the same time a working MinGW environment), and Microsoft's nmake. And It Just Works (and even maintains compatibility with ActivePerl's PPM binary packages)
To avoid licensing issues, rather than embed the installers in his main installer, his installer downloads them on the fly during the install and they Do The Right Thing. This also means that the CamelPack comes in at only 345k.
If a little crude, his solution worked well, was pulled together quickly, and should be easily repeatable for new Perl versions. And happily for me, I get to deliver his beer in person since I plan to be in town for the February Sydney.pm meeting.
He just edged out Carl Franks' Vanilla Perl. (which I won't link to because he has bandwidth issues where it is hosted)
Carl took the opposite approach with Vanilla and compiled gcc, a set of unix tools, and perl itself all from scratch specifically for Windows, and then wrapped it up in a unified installer (total size about 15meg).
However, he was tripped up by the same networking problem (related to passive FTP and the Windows firewall) that caught Stephen out, and also suffered from a badly crashing gzip.exe. In the end, it may have actually come down to timezones, with Carl simply running out of ability to avoid sleep just as Stephen was waking up and starting on the problems from his initial rejection.
In the end, I suspect it will turn out that BOTH Perl distributions will live on and be useful. Stephen is keen to solve the problem of integrating CPAN with binary installs and solve the libfoo.dll problem (and was already working on it) so the CamelPack could well become an ideal "end user" Perl installation.
And because Vanilla Perl contains only the core Perl modules, and not the extra ActivePerl modules, it will serve as an ideal Perl install to run inside of Win32 PITA images, for testing CPAN distributions on Windows.
All in all, the competition was a resounding success, and now we should truly be able to install modules directly from CPAN across linux, mac, and Win32, without any undue pain. Well worth a metre of beer!
P.S. Photos of the beer presentation to follow